Job : As an experienced prog fan, I have to admit that The Ocean never grabbed me. Not with their earlier work, and not with their last work ‘Pelagial’, an album that left quite a mark on the scene back in 2013. I found the band unfocused and too ambitious in their approach, leaving much of the music ambiguous and too open-ended. Their new record ‘Phanerozoic I: ‘Paleozoic’ (part of a double album of which the second halve is due for a 2020 release) is a decent step in the right direction for me and I’m hearing a band that’s working with a heftier framework for their music, making them more accessible to a larger audience. It’s vocalist Loic Rossetti that manages to impress here, with a clean vocal style more prevalent than before. His singing at times reminds me of Mike Semesky (ex-Intervals) and maybe even Greg Pusciato (ex-The Dillinge Escape Plan) in the higher registers.
Now, for me the framework doesn’t just cut it and most of the time, I still hear a band that isn’t able to substantiate their music. That might sound very pretentious, but personally I much rather listen to a song from a band (like Haken or Leprous) that’s structurally sound and easy to get into, however technical the intricacies are. The Ocean seems to rather apply a more free-form structure to their songwriting, which can make it very difficult to “get to know” a song. It’s because of that that I’m missing some cohesion, even on this record, that I find so important. It’s however definitely a step in the right direction to me, compared to their older work. I’ll be hopefully awaiting the second halve of this work because who knows; maybe it will finally change my mind and flip me over to the realms of The Ocean.